A Look Back At The Third Annual NOMOS Forum In Glashütte
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the third annual NOMOS forum in Glashütte. This is the brand’s response to the demise of Baselworld a few years back. Now, instead of packing up and making the trip down to the big Swiss watch fairs, NOMOS keeps things in-house, much like its watchmaking. The brand invites a number of journalists and other content creators to come and experience the latest releases. NOMOS also provides insights as to the brand’s direction in the coming year and gives us a sneak peek at some of the exciting things to come. As this event took place in the brand’s home of Glashütte, we were also given a tour of the manufacturing facilities. Today, I’ll give you a brief insight into the event, the new NOMOS watches, and a glimpse into the brand’s impressive facilities.
Many of you will have already heard about the new NOMOS Club Sport 37mm released last week. If you haven’t, you can read my initial impressions here. A more in-depth, hands-on review will follow shortly, so stay tuned for that. This pair of sporty watches shared the spotlight during the forum event. The second message from the brand focused on protecting the Glashütte name, what it means to put it on a watch, and creating a designation of origin to do so. Much like other great artisanal products like Murano glass, Rioja wine, Parma ham, and Champagne, watches made in Glashütte also deserve this legal protection. And though this worked against NOMOS in the past, the tables have turned. Now the brand will champion efforts to protect this designation, working closely with the German government to ensure that the Glashütte name is used only by deserving companies.
The 2022 NOMOS Forum in Glashütte
Our morning started in Dresden, where we hopped on a shuttle over to Glashütte. A scenic 40-minute ride through Germany’s eastern countryside saw us arrive in Glashütte as the morning mist gave way to a sunny fall day. After a comprehensive guided tour of the NOMOS workshops in the Chronometrie building and the parts-manufacturing facility in Schlottwitz, we were dropped off by the site of the 2022 forum. An old church, renovated by NOMOS in true Bauhaus fashion, would be the stage for the day’s presentations. After a brief introductory speech from the brand’s managing director Uwe Ahrendt, Mirko Heyne (head of R&D) began to lead the proceedings. His presentation — titled “The next 175 years: Taking tradition into the future” — was accompanied by wonderful macro videography from the Berlin-based, two-man videography team Zentral Gelb.
Ultimately, Heyne told us that to see the future, one must use their imagination. But he insisted that NOMOS would stand by its principles and continue to employ artisanal methods in its watchmaking, integrating modern technology that allows for more efficiency. Next up, Fanni Melzer (head of e-commerce at NOMOS) took to the stage. She highlighted the importance of the watchmaking legend of Glashütte in the modern world. An integral part of the brand’s identity, it’s a key element in differentiation and brand communication that helps NOMOS stand out amongst brands with more history and prestige. Hand in hand with the principle of customer-centricity, Melzer said these would be the principles guiding NOMOS well into the future. But the brand’s approach doesn’t stop there.
New watches and a bright outlook
Inspired by docutainment series like Formula 1: Drive To Survive, the brand created the “Made In Glashütte” video series (available on its YouTube channel). The purpose is to reach a new audience and heighten awareness about the artistry that goes into each NOMOS wristwatch. This level of communication shows that a watch made by NOMOS in Glashütte represents connoisseurship, prestige, and craftsmanship. And, as Fanni Melzer said, it is what will help the brand take sure steps toward the future. Shortly after, we were shown the first step in the form of the brand’s latest watches — the NOMOS Club Sport 37mm. Next up on stage was Dr. Wolfgang Straub. A lawyer specializing in corporate law (amongst other things), he has teamed up with NOMOS to help enforce the Glashütte rule and create the designation of origin for all watches bearing the Glashütte name.
In the past, Straub actually went after NOMOS for this very reason. But he spoke of how the brand industriously and diligently modified its production to meet the new standards. The more stringent current standard will certainly affect some of the Glashütte brands that wish to display the name on the dial. Fellow journalist Jan Lidmaňský of Quill & Pad raised a good point about quartz watches with Asian-made movements potentially not making the cut. The answer? Nothing beyond speculation that some brands would have to make slight changes.
But the key to establishing the designation of origin is creating the exclusivity and prestige that Glashütte represents when present on a watch’s dial. As such, it seems that NOMOS’s plans for the future paint a bright picture, one of respect for the old in achieving the new with artisanal craft and a unique design language paving the way forward for NOMOS and Glashütte alike.
A view into the NOMOS manufacture
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for (I hope) — my photo report of the NOMOS operation in Glashütte. This includes pictures from my visit to the Chronometrie building, where movements and watches are assembled, checked, and cased. You’ll also see shots from the Schlottwitz manufacture, where virtually every part of NOMOS watches is created and finishing is applied. I hope you enjoy this virtual version of the tour as much as I did in person. We start with the R&D department and its deputy head, Theo Prenzel.